Five Vacations You Can Take with Your Tax Refund

BY: Rashawn Mitchner |

If you’re hankering for a vacation (and hoping for a windfall to pay for it), tax season is the time to plan one. This year, the average tax refund is $2,866. Check out our recommendations for five types of 5-night vacations that could be covered by your tax refund. We even included free activities to make your money go further.

Big City Vacation: New York

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A trip for: a family of four

Where to stay: The New Yorker Hotel

What to do: See a kid-friendly Broadway show like Wicked, learn about dinosaurs and distant galaxies at the American Museum of Natural History, and gaze over the city from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Free stuff: Bring your walking shoes for getting around Central Park, Times Square, and the High Line, a park built on a former elevated train line.

  • Hotel: $123/night
  • Airfare: $209/person (average)
  • Theater tickets: $99/person
  • Museum: $22/adult; $12.50 for ages 2–12
  • Empire State Building: $32/adult; $26 for ages 6–12
  • Total: $2,032

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Beach Getaway: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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A trip for: a family of four

Where to stay: The Patricia Grand

What to do: The adults can play golf at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, consistently ranked among the area’s best courses by the likes of Golf and Golf Digest. Get a bird’s-eye view of the city while riding the SkyWheel ferris wheel on the boardwalk, then zip across the waves on jet skis.

Free stuff: The city’s biggest draw—the beach—is free. You can also head to a summer concert or festival and watch fireworks at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach and Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach.

  • Hotel: $79/night
  • Airfare: $246/person (average)
  • Golf: as low as $89/adult during the summer months
  • Ferris wheel: $14 for ages 12+; $9 for ages 3–11
  • Two two-person jet-ski rentals: $109/hour
  • Total: $1,821

International Vacation: Moscow, Russia

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A trip for: two friends

Where you’ll stay: Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel and Business Centre

What to do: This 6-day Moscow vacation includes round-trip airfare from New York as well as accommodations. For guided sightseeing, take the optional tours of the city and the Kremlin, the Metro and Red Square, the Novodevichy Convent, and the Tretyakov State Gallery.

Free stuff: Explore the grand Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Gorky House-Museum’s art-nouveau interior, then find the burial sites of notable Russians—including Boris Yeltsin and Anton Chekhov at the Novodevichy Cemetery.

  • Tour package: $699/person
  • Hotel: included
  • Airfare: included from New York
  • Tour of the city and the Kremlin: $85/person
  • Tour of the Metro and Red Square: $33/person
  • Tour of Novodevichy Convent,: $69/person
  • Tour of Tretyakov State Gallery.: $70/person
  • Total: $1,912

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Wine Country Getaway: Napa and Sonoma Counties, California

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A trip for: a couple

Where to stay: Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery in Calistoga

What to do: Sample cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays at any of hundreds of area wineries and get aerial views of the vineyards on a hot-air balloon ride. Unwind in a mud bath infused with water from Calistoga’s famed hot springs.

Free stuff: See roadside sculptures made from repurposed junk in a neighborhood in Sebastopol and admire contemporary art at Hess Collection in Napa. For an active day, make the challenging trek to Mount Saint Helena’s summit for vistas of the Bay Area.

  • Hotel: $77/night
  • Airfare: $307/person (average, via SFO)
  • Winery tour: $15/person (average)
  • Hot air balloon ride: $235/person
  • Mud bath: $95/person
  • Total: $1,689

Outdoorsy Vacation: Vail, Colorado

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A trip for: two friends

Where to stay: Christiania at Vail

What to do: Go on a guided nature hike on Beaver Creek Mountain, float along a calm stretch of the Colorado River in a tube, and gaze out at the Rockies during a horseback trail ride.

Free stuff: Stroll past flowers and waterfalls at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, learn about some of  the state’s most popular pastimes at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, and enjoy a free summer concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater or the Vail Farmers’ Market.

  • Hotel: $126/night
  • Airfare: $244/person (average, via DEN)
  • Guided hike: $55/person
  • River tubing: $35/person
  • Horseback trail ride: $60/person
  • Total: $1,418


Guide Staff Writer
BY: Rashawn Mitchner